ICYMI: Murkowski Calls for Resources to Address Domestic Violence during COVID-19

Due to COVID-19, many people are now working from home, while others have been required to take unpaid leave or have lost their job completely. One unintended but realistic consequence of these measures will be increased stress at home, which can put many at greater risk of falling victim to domestic violence. U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) led a group of their bipartisan colleagues in a letter calling on the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), to ensure that the organizations that help victims and survivors of domestic violence have the necessary flexibility and resources to meet the increased need of these significant services during the pandemic.

“In addition, domestic violence service providers expect an increase in the need for emergency childcare and domestic violence shelters, as well as for supplies to keep centers and program sites safe and secure,” said the Senators. “Many of these programs are administered by your offices and funded through grants authorized by the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act and the Violence Against Women Act. It is critical that your agencies ensure that victims and survivors of domestic violence continue to have access to these vital services.”

The letter also contained 10 questions from the Senators, which included: 

  1. Have the domestic violence programs that ACF and OVW administer seen an increase in need over the past 60 days, as a result of the COVID-19 mitigation efforts in place at the local, state, and federal level? If so, please provide detail, to the extent possible, broken down by state or territory.
  2. How have the domestic violence programs administered by your offices been strained as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic?
  3. What steps have ACF and OVW taken to prepare for a potential rise in the need for domestic violence programs or services? 
  4. What will ACF and OVW do to provide organizations an opportunity to request additional financial support to respond to an increased demand for services?
  5. What additional guidance or resources are ACF and OVW providing domestic violence organizations that serve American Indians and Alaska Natives, rural, and underserved communities?

Accordingly, the Senators requested a telephonic briefing be held with members of their staff regarding actions ACF and OVW are taking.

To read the full letter, click here.

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